Tableau launches Vizable iPad app, aims to bring analytics to everyone

Tableau launches a free iPad app designed to make your personal and work data easier to consume and analyze. Is this the start of bring your own analytics?

Tableau on Tuesday launched a data discovery app called Vizable that is aimed at visualizing information for the masses as well as business executives.

If successful, Tableau could expand its market and possible usher in a bring your own analytics movement in the enterprise.

Vizable, demoed at Tableau's user conference in Las Vegas, is initially available on Apple's iOS platform with an emphasis on the iPad. The free app can ingest data from a spreadsheet and be consumed by pinching, swiping and dragging.

Dave Story, Tableau's vice president of mobile and strategic growth, said the effort is designed to make data more relevant to all. The Vizable app is Tableau's second free product and fifth overall. Tableau Public is another free version of the company's software that has gained traction.

"Our goals were to reach more people, allow you to touch your data and show what we'd do if starting Tableau now," said Story.

Tableau, like many enterprise vendors, is gunning for the analytics layer, which could relegate traditional software to plumbing. The analytics layer in theory would act as a front end system to a bevy of data stores. SAP and Salesforce are just two companies focused on the broader analytics layer. Industry specific players such as FusionOps are focused on analytics for functions like the supply chain. And Amazon Web Services and a bevy of others are aiming to make it easier to import data into the cloud for analysis.

"Tableau is focused on the analytics layer from collection to value," said Story.

As Story walked me through the Vizable app I began seeing it for uses beyond work. My finances, fitness data and other items such as my Amazon spending habits over time could be imported and visualized. That usage could make Vizable a go-to iPad app for me. Of course, I also saw Vizable as a way to import my Tableau data for work purposes and ask questions of my own. I'm also a Tableau customer, but typically reports are done by someone else. Vizable puts more control in my hands and abstracts functions like pivot tables.

That personal-work use case highlights the importance of Vizable as a free app. Perhaps Vizable becomes an application folks bring to work for visualization purposes. For Tableau that outcome would be swell since it would sell its enterprise software too. You could call Vizable a bet that data workers will ultimately bring their own analytics.

Story said that Vizable is aimed at smaller markets in some ways--a food truck vendor, education and fitness--were use cases, but it could just as easily be a front end for the enterprise. Vizable works with data in CSV and Excel files initially but will expand from there. Story added that there will be an Android version once the kinks are worked out.

Here are a few screen shots: